1680 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Randolph

John Aubrey, in Brief Lives, 1669-1696; ed. Clark (1898) 2:195-98.



Thomas Randolph, the poet, Cambr.: — I have sent to A. a Wood his nativity etc., which I had from his brother John, an attorney (who lives at ...), viz. Thomas Randolph was the eldest son of William Randolph by his wife Elizabeth Smyth; he was borne at Newnham neer Daintre in Northamptonshire, June the fifteenth, 1605.

At the age of nine yeares, he wrot the history of our Saviour's incarnation in English verse, which his brother John haz to shew under his owne handwriting — never printed, kept as a rarity.

From Mr. Needler: — his haire was of a very light flaxen, almost white (like J. Scroope's). It was flaggy, as by his picture before his booke appeares. He was of a pale ill complexion and pock-pitten — from Mr. Thomas Fludd, his scholefellow at Westminster, who sayes he was of about my stature or scarce so tall.

His father was steward to Sir George Goring in Sussex. He had been very wild in his youth; and his father (i.e. grandfather to Thomas Randolph) left him but a groat or 3d. in his will, which when he received he nailed to the post of the dore — vide + A. W. Ires. His father was a surveyor of land, i.e. a land measurer.

Anno Domini (1623) he was elected to Trinity College in Cambridge.

Anno ... he rencountred captain Stafford (an ingeniose gent. and the chiefe of his family, and out of which the great duke of Bucks brancht) on the roade.... He gave him a pension of I thinke CLI. per annum, and he was tutor to his son and heir.

He was very "praecocis ingenii," and had he lived but a little longer had been "famae suae superstes."

He writt (as before mentioned) the history of our Saviour's incarnation (at 9 yeers old).

Aristippus, and the Joviall Pedler, 2 shewes, quarto, printed at London by ...

Cornelianum dolium, a comoedie in Latin, 8vo, [Greek characters].

The jealous Lovers, a comedie: printed.

His Poems, with The Muses Looking-glas, and Amyntas, printed at Oxon by Francis Bowman, 16—, in 4to; after, 16—, by him again in 8vo.

The epitaph on William Laurence in Westminster cloysters—

(Dr. Busby, schoolmaster of Westminster, was Tom Randolph's schoolfellow and coetanean, and sayth that he made these verses — 'tis his vaine:—

With diligence and trust most exemplary
Did William, Laurence serve a prebendary,
And for his paines, now past before, not lost,
Gain'd this remembrance at his master's cost.
—O read those lines againe: you seldome find
A servant faithfull and a master kind.
Short-hand he wrote; his flowre in youth did fade:
And hasty death short hand of him hath made.
Well couth he numbers and well measur'd land,
Thus doth he now that ground wheron you stand
Wherein he lies; so geometricall
Art maketh some, but thus will nature all.

Obiit Dec. 28, 1621,
aetatis suae 29.)

He dyed in the twenty-eighth yeare of his age at Mr. < William > Stafford's, Blatherwyck, aforesayd; was there buryed March 17, 1634, in the aisle of that church among that noble family.

Sir Christopher, lord Hatton, erected to his memorie a monument of white marble — quaere his epitaph; I thinke A[nthony] W[ood] has it.

I sent to A. Wood his brother's letter to me from whence I had most of this, and also his epitaph which my lord Hatton gott Mr. H. rector of Hadham in Essex to make, but it is puerile.